Sunday 15 December 2013

Releasing data really works, Part V

It took five days (after hours) to stand up, learn, tweak and display my East Anglia Fenlands project on Mapcentia's web service. It started with a GISuser group post on LinkedIn on Monday, I used my Amazon Web Service free EC2 trial and GeoCloud2 under beta, and by Friday I had it working and styled. No small thanks to Martin Hogh's original work and help, the result is a simple yet modern and pleasing web map.

Not only can I serve up the results of my round-trip Ordnance Survey polygon corrections (Part IV of this series):

click image to enlarge & here  to view (select: Legend to see legend)
Boundary quality assured using 1SpatialCloud Online Validation Service

but I can also serve up my East Anglia Fenlands project quickly and effectively:

click image to enlarge & here  to view (select: Legend to see legend)
Contains data © Crown copyright and database rights 2010, 2013 Ordnance Survey

To reiterate many things happened here:
  • Cambridge University's HC Darby published economic wealth indicators in a series of simple maps keyed on Parishes, a geo-reference mainstay for almost a millennium in England
  • UK Ordnance Survey released Boundary Line polygons under the OpenData initiative, given the proviso "Contains Ordnance Survey Data (c) Crown copyright and database right 201x"
  • transcribed Darby's attribute data in QGIS first then ArcGIS Home Use (thanks for his widow Lady Darby and Cam. Uni. Archaeology Dept. for permission to re-use) that took 3 months after hours
  • had free or affordable software and web-maps to process and share this data for the Fenlands Heritage Environment Project 
  • posted these this blog,, ShareGeo (see blog header), and
  • used Socium then 1SpatialCould online validation service to test the integrity of the data (two tests on hand attribute entries and Ordnance Survey polygons)
  • Ordnance Survey found the Parish polygon errors fell below their QC threshold but posted the updates nonetheless
  • now all this can be served up on the web using yet more free software for public reference

Free is a state of mind and a lot goes on behind this, so here are some lessons learned:
  • never underestimate the power of projections, they can be friend if handled correctly, your foe if not
  • desktop mapping allows us to play fast&loose, but web mashups truly need proper metadata
  • understand and respect the spatial database opportunities and constraints, as great tools exist now
  • track workflows and metadata to help find if issues are origin data, map processing or web service
  • understand the (meta)data in order to sort out what is important and what really needs attending to
  • use the media at its best:
    • desktop is still the mainstay of data processsing tho that will change over time
    • desktop reading web feature services allow to QC what has been posted
    • web maps help drop background data and focus on actually processed data
    • desktop and web allow mash-ups, but the web allows to share it
    • standing up a web service is in the end the only way to truly share work
  • free is never free, there is always a cost involved, and tracking it key in show me the money  
Standing on the shoulders of many - you know who you are - this blog shows  work with all means available: its only aim it to get the data and their results to the right audience, to...

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